Desdemona--A Play About a Handkerchief: This "deconstruction" of Shakespeare's Othello by playwright Paula Vogel posits the Moor's hapless wife as a "spoiled and self-centered" pill who "struts around like a sorority queen reveling in her tales of sexual conquest; ever mindful that the one man she hasn't slept with is the one for whom she'll die." Kevin Kerrigan directs the In Mixed Company production. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 12; and the same time Friday, February 13; and Saturday, February 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, February 15, at the PlayWright's Theatre, 1121 North First Street. Tickets are $16.50, $14.50 for students and seniors, available through the Herberger box office and Dillard's. 252-8497, 503-5555.
Eduardo Gil: Works by the Argentinean photojournalist are displayed at Arizona State University's Northlight Gallery. Gil's images, which were harvested from landscapes and cemeteries around Buenos Aires--as well as the city's largest madhouse--"ask the viewer to search for symbolic elements inside each image," and to "find metaphors for the human condition in the urban and religious images." Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The gallery is located in Matthews Hall at the intersection of Forest and Tyler malls on the ASU campus in Tempe. 965-6517.
Tender Is the Night: Like the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel (and unlike the Jackson Browne number), this exhibition by painter Earl Linderman, a.k.a. "Doktor Thrill," is a tribute to the 1920s of the imagination--well-dressed swells with natty mustaches, dancing to jazz with flappers. The display opens with a reception, at which Linderman will be present, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, February 12, at C.G. Rein Galleries, 4235 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. The show continues through Friday, March 6. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays (and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 941-0900.
The Dance Hall Crashers: The MCA flack who wrote this California band's bio referred to DHC as "the revered Berkeley band." Yeah, right; most critics hate this group, for reasons not dissimilar to the ones for which they flog Orange County's No Doubt: 1) a backlash against hard-won success; 2) a bright, accessible sound; and 3) a ska undercurrent that's far from pure. That current is, in fact, all but bestilled on the band's most recent, a peppy platter of pleasant pop titled Honey, I'm Homely!, which is neither bad nor brilliant. Nor is DHC--which often calls to mind the B-52's, especially on tracks that approach true postbubblegum sublimity, like "Stand By" and "Last Laugh." Bracket opens the all-ages show at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 12, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. 967-1234, 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).
Wiley and the Hairy Man: The former--a young fellow with magical potential--must come to terms with his fear of the latter--a bogeyman--in order to traverse the swamp in this dramatized folktale, mounted by Mesa Youtheatre, that tough-minded, uncondescending purveyor of drama for kids. Suzan Zeder wrote the play, recommended for kids ages 5 and older. Opening performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 12; 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 13; 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, February 15, at Mesa Youtheatre, located at Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center. Tickets are $7, $5 for those under 18. The run continues through Sunday, March 1. 644-2560.
The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Featured performers on the soundtrack of the recent film Seven Years in Tibet, this troupe of Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery performs a Tantric ceremony of traditional "multiphonic" song and dance, complete with costumes and masks. Tibet-phile Richard Gere is a co-producer of this tour, which visits the Valley at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 13, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $14, $10 for students and seniors. 994-2787 (SCA), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).
Phoenix Lesbian and Gay Film Festival: The 1998 edition of the fest includes screenings of Late Bloomers (sapphic passion between 40-something employees at a public high school), Green Plaid Shirt (gay love and friendship among five friends beginning in the late '70s), Fire (sapphic passion in contemporary New Delhi, India) and Broadway Damage (wacky adventures among Manhattan theater hopefuls). Screenings start at 8 p.m. Friday, February 13; and at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 14, at AMC Esplanade 14, 2515 East Camelback. Advance tickets, available at Movies on Central, 4700 North Central, are $20 for the Friday double-feature premiere, and $10 for each individual screening on Saturday; they're $24 and $12, respectively, the days of the show. Proceeds benefit the Lesbian & Gay Public Awareness Project. 274-0994.
The Ziggens: The Orange County outfit can't be accused of taking itself too seriously. Its songs include paeans to Wisconsin psycho killer Ed Gein and famous castaway Gilligan. The Zigs bring their ludicrous lyrics and distinctive, driving surf-rockabilly sound to the Valley at 9 p.m. Friday, February 13, at Jackson Hole, 1 East Jackson. The cover is $6. Medieval Knievels open the show. 530-8797.
The Alwun House Exotic Art Invitational: For the randy-minded gallery rat, the 15th annual edition of this exhibition of erotica kicks off with a Valentine's-eve cabaret featuring champagne, chocolate and sensual performances by African and Middle Eastern dancers at 7 p.m. Friday, February 13. The art, which includes the collages of Moline O'Tucson, "televisors" by Steve Gompf, the sculptures of Matt Smith and Tony Trappaso, photographs by Joseph Saadeh and Tom Stephenson, and assemblages by Erastes Cinaedi, will be on display through Sunday, March 22. Regular hours: noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Admission to this exhibit is $3 during regular hours; nocturnal admission to the cabaret is $11. 1204 East Roosevelt. 253-7887.
Valentine's Day: The face-suckin' holiday may be celebrated publicly in a variety of ways around the Valley without getting arrested. For the nostalgically amorous, Tommy James; Blood, Sweat & Tears; the Association; and Mary Wilson are set to perform a Valentine Oldies Show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets are $30, $24 and $18. For the politically minded romantic, there's a rally at the State Capitol at 1 p.m. Saturday, sponsored by the Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church, in protest of our state's laws against gay and lesbian marriage; it's followed by a Valentine's Day dance at 8 p.m. in the ballroom of the Quality Hotel and Resort at the intersection of Second Avenue and Osborn. Admission to the dance is $5. Theater lovers can enjoy Lawrence Pressman and Mariette Hartley in Love Letters, A.R. Gurney's play about a 50-year relationship between a husband and wife. The expressive words from a trail of love letters are the uniquely chosen format as the two actors read their scripts while seated at a table. The veteran Pressman, recently seen as a judge on Ally McBeal, is best known as the title character's boss on Doogie Howser, M.D.; Hartley's numerous film, TV and stage roles have been overshadowed by her work opposite James Garner in Polaroid commercials. The show is performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets are $14, $22 and $24. Those whose relationship could use a little work might want to head north for a Mars/Venus Workshop, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at the Sedona Real Inn, located at the intersection of Arroyo Pinon Drive and Highway 89-A in Sedona. The workshops, run by local "facilitators" trained by the puckish love guru John Gray, cost $150 per couple, and special room rates at the inn are available. And those with a frustrated love jones may wish to visit the Valentine's Chocolate Bar, a buffet--yes, you heard right, a buffet--of chocolate desserts which runs from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at the Arizona Biltmore Main Lobby. It costs $21.75 per person, but it's--get this--all you can eat. Don't blame us if you hate yourself in the morning. America West: 379-7800; Dillard's: 503-5555; Gentle Shepherd: 285-9020; Chandler: 786-2680; Mars/Venus: 588-0233; Chocolate Bar: 954-2507.
VNSA Charity Used-Book Sale: Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association, Inc., sponsors this 41st annual biblio-worm's delight. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, February 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, February 15, in and around the Exhibit Building at Arizona State Fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. The prices on most items are reduced by 50 percent on Sunday. Admission is free; proceeds benefit various Arizona charities. There is a fee for fairgrounds parking. 265-6805.
Salt River Brass: When you think of love, don't you think "brass band"? Those who can't celebrate Valentine's Day until the day after can enjoy the ringing tones of this 27-member ensemble, which presents an "Affair of the Heart" at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 15, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. The concert features such faves as "Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas" as well as selections from South Pacific, Gershwin, and that ol' romantic John Philip Sousa, plus the world premiere of a brass-band arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet. If that doesn't set the mood for amour, you should be worried. The Brass gives a second performance, appropriately benefiting the Arizona Heart Institute Foundation, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 16, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors for the Chandler show; $15, $12 for seniors at the Orpheum. 262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 503-5555 (Dillard's), 786-2680 (Chandler).
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CineMuse: The same newfangled technology that produces high-definition TV is employed by this movie process, which receives a four-evening preview beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 17, at Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 North Macdonald, with films called Clearwater: Celebrating the Hudson River and Train Ride to the Sky: The Copper Canyon. Screenings continue with Talking Pictures and A Passage to Vietnam at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 19; Anansi and Koi and the Kola Nuts at 9 a.m. Saturday, February 21; and Rhythm and Blues in the Classic Style and Testify at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, February 22. It is claimed that CineMuse "surpasses most film, and it provides detail and color five times greater than conventional video." Decide for yourself. Single tickets, available at the museum or by phone, are $4, $2 for kids under 12. 644-3159, 644-2230.
Bruce Hamblin Blues Benefit: Candye Kane, who dedicated "It Should Be Raining" on her album Diva La Grand to Hamblin, the rockabilly/roots-country bassist who died last year, headlines this show to raise money to place a headstone at his grave. Also on the bill are Candye's husband Tom Yearsley, Mario Moreno, Kenny Love and the Rockerfellas, Chico Chism, and many others. The bash starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 17, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The suggested donation is $6. 265-4842.
Ballet Du Capitole de Toulouse: Though comparatively little-known in the U.S., this company, which offers works from both the classical and contemporary repertoire, is regarded as one of France's best. Southwest Dance presents an evening with the troupe at 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 18, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets, available at Dillard's, are $24, $28 and $32. 503-5555 (Dillard's).